The Grey: Review

2 Feb

The Grey stars Liam Neeson at Ottway, a world weary marksman, hired by an oil company to protect rig workers from predatory wolves in Alaska.  When his contract ends with the oil company, Ottway boards a plane heading out of Alaska along with other roughnecks.  During the flight, there’s a mechanical failure and the plane crashes leaving a handful of men to battle the elements and evade a pack of aggressive wolves who see the survivors as intruders.

The first thing you should know about The Grey is that despite the marketing, this is not an action movie. It’s not a 90 minute free for all of Man vs. Wolf action. There are violent encounters with the wolves, but they are few and far between.  The Grey spends more time focusing on the men’s reactions to their situation and how they cope with the constant dangers surrounding them. It’s a gritty look at death and spirituality.

What’s sets The Grey apart from other survival movies is how caring and supportive the oil workers are of one another.  When someone is injured there is no talk of leaving them behind or feeding them to the wolves.  The survivors constantly put themselves in harm’s way to save one another.  There are four main characters (other than Neeson) that prove to be well rounded and thought out: Henrick (Dallas Roberts), Talget (Dermot Mulroney), Burke (Nonso Anozie), and Diaz (Frank Grillo).

The only character to cause problems is the outspoken and angry Diaz,who creates conflict for the first half of the movie.  After a confrontation with Ottway, Diaz softens significantly and even apologizes to the other men.  The best parts of the movie comes from the characters’ frank conversations about their lives and their possible deaths. In one conversation, Talget talks about his purpose in life and God, while Diaz and Ottway openly talk about not believing in anything and that there’s nothing after death.  The conversations are refreshing because so many other survival films have people “finding religion” at the last minute.

I would say this is one of Neeson’s best performances recently, other than Taken.  Originally, Neeson’s character had been contemplating suicide, but once death seems inevitable his character fights for himself and the other men to stay alive.  Dermot Mulroney and Frank Grillo are excellent choices for the supporting cast and you find yourself constantly worrying about what can or will happen to them.

Ultimately, The Grey focuses on death and how different people approach it.  I’d highly recommend seeing it, but it is not for the faint of heart.  You aren’t going to leave the theatre feeling happy.  Believe me.

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One Response to “The Grey: Review”

  1. Christine February 3, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    Will see.

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